Thanks to strict building and fire codes that all homes and businesses must adhere to in Oxford, firefighters in the Oxford Fire Department didn’t have to fight many actual fires in 2020 – but that doesn’t mean they weren’t busy serving Oxford citizens.
On Tuesday, OFD Chief Joey Garner presented the fire department’s annual report to the Oxford Board of Aldermen.
In 2020, firefighters responded to 1,761 calls.
The most calls, 606, were medical calls, excluding vehicle wrecks that resulted in injuries, which was a big increase from the year prior.
“In 2019, we had 182 medical calls,” Garner said.
OFD responded to 12 brush and grass fires, three Dumpster fires, one garbage dump or landfill fire and nine building fires. They were dispatched to 14 cooking fires that were confined to a container.
Firefighters extricated 13 people from their vehicles and responded to 24 gas leaks and 99 wrecks with injuries.
OFD was dispatched to 200 smoke detector activation calls where there was no fire and 85 calls due to malfunctioning alarms.
The busiest time of the day for the fire department is from noon to 4 p.m. and the busiest day of the week on average in 2020 was Wednesdays.
“That kind of surprised me,” Garner said.
The slowest month was January 2020 with 89 calls and the busiest month was November, with 201 calls.
“This year we had more residential calls than anything else,” Garner told the Board.
OFD performed a total of 1,118 inspections in 2020. Garner said that number is down from previous years due to COVID-19.
Garner also reported on the community service side of OFD where they served meals to 100 local families on Thanksgiving and for Christmas, they provided 50 families with meals and toys to 40 children in those families.
Mayor Robyn Tannehill said the Oxford community was blessed to have a fire department that included trained medical personnel who can respond to a call many times faster than an ambulance.
“We hear on a regular basis about long wait for ambulances, and in those situations, I can’t tell you how important it is to know the Oxford Fire Department is there to take care of people immediately,” she said.